Food & Drink

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Food & Drink intro video by Okay Yellow

RESTAURANT
Mas
Runner-up: C&O Restaurant
O.K., Mas-obsessed reader, we get it. Choosing Mas for nearly every category —including Best Coffeehouse and, inexplicably, Live DJ—is not what we’d call a subtle nod to your favorite restaurant. Luckily, you’re not alone in your fanatical affection for the Belmont tapas spot. Hundreds of readers also chose Mas as this year’s best place to dine out. 

With cucumber, vodka, vermouth and white grape juice in the mix, you can get pickled right quick with the Suave cocktail from Bang!

SIGNATURE COCKTAIL
Bang!
Runner-up: Ventana
Readers were a little light on the specifics when it came to this year’s winner. Could you have meant the Femme Fatale or the Lemon Drop, a little bit sour but a lot delicious? Not sure, but you were clear about one thing: The folks at Bang! can make a tasty beverage. Ditto Ventana, whose margaritas keep you coming back for just one more sip. 

NEW RESTAURANT
Tavola
Runner-up: Fry’s Spring Service Station
In an economy like this, it’s a wonder we have any restaurants left at all—let alone these two tasty new ones. In one corner, Michael Keaveny’s authentic Italian eatery, located in a storefront in Belmont. In the other, a renovated gas station from Robert Sawrey that offers pizza and patio seating. For more information on this winner, click here.

COFFEEHOUSE
Mudhouse
Runner-up: Shenandoah Joe
The House of Mud, as some regulars call it, shows up on this list year after year for its bold Lexington-roasted coffee beans, homemade pastries and casual cool atmosphere. And, we suspect, for its newest location in Crozet, too. It’s only a year old, but a good many of you specified the Albemarle location on your 2010 ballot. For more information on this winner, click here.

DATE SPOT
Mas
Runner-up: C&O Restaurant
Two years in a row now, Mas has dominated this category. Are they slipping some love potion in the food (see Best Restaurant)? Is there something in the air (see Best Dining Patio)? Whatever it is, the Belmont spot has some serious mojo. The readers say, don’t change a thing. 

GREASY SPOON
Blue Moon Diner
Runner-up: Riverside Lunch
Oh, Blue Moon. We kid because we love. And we’re not the only ones—readers gave this West Main restaurant top billing on account of its friendly staff, bar regulars and powdered sugar-coated pancakes. Riverside, another beloved local establishment, takes spot No. 2. For more information on this winner, click here.

SANDWICH SPOT
Bodo’s Bagel Bakery
Runner-up: Take It Away
Some cannot imagine how a sandwich missing its middle could be considered “best,” but there’s just no denying it. That hole in the center of your roast beef sandwich is like a peephole to its deliciousness. Take It Away, taking the more traditional sandwich route, is a Corner staple for study-breakers and empty on-the-go tummies alike. For more information on this winner, click here.

BREAKFAST
Bluegrass Grill and Bakery
Runner-up: Bodo’s Bagel Bakery
This may be a new category, but you readers voted for an old favorite: Bluegrass Grill wins again. More than the whole wheat biscuits, you crave the familiar: Wholesome cookin’, cozy atmosphere and familiar faces in a line that stretches blocks long. Yep, it’s decided. Nobody does Saturday morning better than Bluegrass. For more information on this winner, click here.

QUICK LUNCH
Bodo’s Bagel Bakery
Runner-up: Eppie’s
Bodo’s is its own brand of fast food. Greasy, fatty, meaty? Absolutely not. Fresh, homemade and delicious? Yessiree! You like your bagel sammies (see Best Sandwich) wherever you can get them—at the Corner, on Emmet Street and on Preston Avenue—and you like them fast. For those of you searching for something a little more down home (chicken and dumplings, anyone?), Eppie’s satisfies your craving. For more information on this winner, click here.

BRUNCH
Bluegrass Grill and Bakery
Runner-up: Old Mill Room at Boar’s Head Inn
It’s no secret that Bluegrass has the best brunch in town—you’ve voted for the Glass Building spot four years in a row to prove it. Brunch in the 23-year-old Old Mill Room, however, is a different story. The Boar’s Head buffet is a newcomer to this category, wowing readers with a hearty selection at brunch for as little as $28. Not to mention the rustic, romantic setting. For more information on this winner, click here.

LATE-NIGHT MENU
Littlejohn’s New York Delicatessen
Runner-up: C&O Restaurant
Back in 2008, the West Main sandwich shop tied with the category’s current runner-up, itself a tough contender when it comes to late-night nosh. But, for the second year in a row, Littlejohn’s is a nose ahead of the competition. And now that the Corner restaurant has started franchising, you can look forward to having an after-midnight Nuclear sub in multiple timezones. Does it get any better? You don’t think so. For more information on this winner, click here.

VEGETARIAN MENU
Revolutionary Soup
Runner-up: Ming Dynasty
Rev Soup owner Will Richey cares about vegetarians. He’s been serving such veggie favorites as Spicy Senagalese Peanut Tofu soup and the Lisa Quesadilla since he bought the restaurant in 2005. This year, he added Farm Owner to his resumé after purchasing a house and some acreage in Esmont. Richey intends to use ingredients grown on his own little patch of earth for your vegetarian menu at the restaurant. Revolutionary, indeed. For more information on this winner, click here.

FOOD CART
Hamdingers
Runner-up: Carpe Donut
Whether you call it Hamdinger’s, Humdinger’s or Patrick’s Cart, as many of you did on this year’s ballot, those who voted for Patrick Critzer’s Central Place food cart can agree: It’s the best. Lucky for you, this year’s runner-up, Carpe Donut, is perfect for dessert. For more information on this winner, click here.

MEAL UNDER $10
Bodo’s Bagel Bakery
Runner-up: Eppie’s
How do you like your Bodo’s? You like it yummy, quick and for less than a Hamilton. Luckily, this is just what the bagel spot delivers, which is why it wins again this year. For more information on this winner, click here.

DRAFT BEER SELECTION
Beer Run
Runner-up: Mellow Mushroom
You don’t even have to be out of beer—any time’s a good time for a Beer Run. You chose the Belmont spot again this year for its robust selection of brew. Looking for the Left Hand Warrior? Needing the New Holland Black Tulip? Maybe you’ve got a hankerin’ for the Hitachino Weizen. Don’t worry—as you readers clearly know, Beer Run has it. For more information on this winner, click here.

RESTAURANT WINE LIST
C&O Restaurant
Runner-up: Siips
We know C&O was named for the railroad that stretches from Virginia to Ohio, but we can’t help wondering if the restaurant’s initials might also stand for “Corkscrew” and “Oenophile.” It would make sense that the Downtown restaurant, with its many wins in this category, would recast its name to reflect such popularity, no? Best Of newcomer Siips had you at first gulp. For more information on this winner, click here.

DINING PATIO
Mas
Runner-up: Vivace
You want your Remolachas asadas with a side of Cool Breeze. And how can we blame you? Mas’ outdoor patio overlooks the heart of Belmont, right up the hill of Hinton Avenue. Why, it’s positively mouth-watering. Runner-up Vivace offers a bird’s-eye view of Ivy Road for its customers. 

DELIVERY
Basil Mediterranean Bistro
Runner-up: Asian Express
Speaking of delivery… Not only will your favorite Mediterranean restaurant (see Best Mediterranean) take your Gnocchi Alla Gorgonzola Tartufata pretty much anywhere you want it, but they’ll also keep it piping hot, smothered in gorgonzola sauce and accompanied by a fresh salad with a crispy, crumbled pita on top. When you say “Best Delivery,” you mean it literally.  For more information on this winner, click here.

You can eat for miles and miles: There’s no skimping at Wood Grill Buffet.

ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT BUFFET
Wood Grill Buffet
Runner-up: China King Buffet
It’s good to know that, even in this town, with its ever-revolving restaurant scene, some things never change. You chose Wood Grill Buffet for that very reason: The 29N restaurant can always be called upon to deliver choice meats, sides and desserts over and over again for less than $10. And you keep going back for more. That’s the benefit, you see, of an all-you-can-eat buffet. For those with a taste for Asian flavor, China King comes in at No. 2. For more information on this winner, click here.

STEAK
Downtown Grille
Runner-up: Aberdeen Barn
One thing’s for sure: This town likes it some meat. And, when it comes to primo beef, readers say no one tops Downtown Grille. The Mall eatery masters everything from the 8 oz. filet mignon to the 24 oz. Porterhouse. In second place: old-fashioned steak house Aberdeen Barn. Readers declare the Holiday Drive mainstay serves certified Angus beef cooked to perfection. For more information on this winner, click here.

CHINESE
Taste of China
Runner-up: Asian Express
Even without renowned chef Peter Chang, whose brief stay in Charlottesville drew hefty crowds to the Albemarle Square restaurant, you folks say Taste of China is the best in town. For those who’d rather skip the lines altogether (see Best Delivery), Asian Express takes the runner-up spot. For more information on this winner, click here.

JAPANESE
Ten
Runners-up: Miyako and Sakura (tie)
We hate to state the obvious, but this year, your winner for Best Japanese is a 10. You think the Downtown restaurant’s oh turo aburi beats all the rest, and its tamago is top notch. In a tie for second place, West Main’s Miyako and 14th Street’s Sakura. For more information on this winner, click here.

THAI
Thai ’99
Runner-up: Lime Leaf
There’s no shortage of Thai restaurants in this town, but year after year you proclaim that Thai ’99 tops them all. Could it be the restaurant’s two locations—on Fontaine Avenue and Seminole Trail—that keep it fresh in your mind? Or are you just plum crazy for the Tom Ka? For more information on this winner, click here.

Mouthwatering doesn’t begin to describe the offerings at Albemarle Baking Company.

BAKERY
Albemarle Baking Company
Runner-up: Chandler’s Bakery
Sure, ABC makes a sinful chocolate torte, and the West Main bakery’s pear buckwheat bread is top notch. But we suspect it’s Albemarle’s ability to transform a delicious princess cake into a truly delightful pink creation with rose-colored polka dots (read: special order) that helps it to nab the top prize each year. Ditto Chandler’s, whose classic yellow and chocolate cakes keep you coming back for one more bite. For more information on this winner, click here.

MEXICAN
Guadalajara
Runner-up: Aqui es Mexico
Guadalajara’s business plan is Economics 101. The greater the demand, the higher the supply. Owner Gilbert Lopez will open a fifth location on Seminole Trail, certainly due in no small part to you, dear readers, who voted the Mexican restaurant into the top spot again this year. For more information on this winner, click here.

ITALIAN
Vivace
Runner-up: Tavola
Vivace, from the Latin vivax, meaning long-lived, remains true to its name. The Ivy Road restaurant has been dominating this category for years for its cozy setting and authentic Italian flavors. Tavola may be closing in, though (see Best New Restaurant). For more information on this winner, click here.

FRENCH
Fleurie
Runner-up: Petit Pois
Monopoly alert! Brian Helleberg—owner of both Fleurie and Petit Pois—certainly has this category in the bag. Again this year, readers can’t get enough of his creations a la Française. You opt for Seared Sea Scallops with Celery Root, Red Onion Marmalade and Shellfish Cream at his Third Street spot, Fleurie, first and foremost. But, come to think of it, you don’t mind the Seared Hangar Steak at his Second Street French Bistro, Petit Pois, either. It’s a toss-up. Or, shall we say, a lancer en l’air. For more information on this winner, click here.

SEAFOOD
Blue Light Grill
Runner-up: Bonefish Grill
We don’t have to tell you this was a tough year for the seafood industry. But, readers say Blue Light Grill rises to the top. Again this year, you chose the Downtown Mall restaurant as your favorite place to gorge on seared scallops and grilled tuna. Up 29N, Bonefish Grill is the best place to hook a flavorful meal. For more information on this winner, click here.

MEDITERRANEAN
Basil Mediterranean Bistro
Runner-up: Aroma’s Café
You readers evidently aren’t too big on dieting (as evidenced by the many—many—opinions you have on the subject of Food and Drink). One food plan you can get into, however, is the Mediterranean diet. Chock full of veggies, nuts and heart-healthy olive oil, Basil provides a menu you clearly agree with. Similarly, Aroma’s provides a tasty option. For more information on this winner, click here.

INDIAN
Milan Indian Cuisine
Runner-up: Maharaja
Readers, did you know? Indian food doesn’t have to be spicy. In fact, Milan will prepare your Biryani according to your taste. There’s nothing like “Indian hot” to get your juices flowing. And while we’re not sure we can convince those readers who didn’t vote for Milan or Maharaja to try the South Asian cuisine at its spiciest, we can say this: Until you try vindaloo, at any spice level, you haven’t lived. For more information on this winner, click here.

WINGS
Wild Wing Café
Runner-up: Buffalo Wild Wings
Some say Red Bull gives you wings, but readers think no place does it better than Wild Wing. You say the Amtrak-stationed spot prepares such a savory batch that you can fly through a whole basket of ’em, no problem. For those who crave 14 flavors, you chose BW3 as your runner up. For more information on this winner, click here.

Boylan Heights teaches burger lovers a few lessons in good eatin’ with an upset victory this year.

BURGER
Boylan Heights
Runner-up: Five Guys
This comes straight from Best Of Voter Tabulation Headquarters: It was a close one. But, after ruling this category year after year, Five Guys was unseated. You folks just can’t resist Boylan’s innovative, school-themed menu with choices like “The Varsity” and “The Foreign Exchange.” Still, when it comes to fries, you choose NoVa-born Five Guys (see below). Put these two together, though, and you’ve got yourself a burger explosion. (And we’re not just referring to Boylan’s “B.O.M.B.” burger.) For more information on this winner, click here. 

FRENCH FRIES
Five Guys
Runner-up: Boylan Heights
See Best Burger. For more information on this winner, click here.

BBQ
Belmont Bar-B-Que
Runner-up: Jinx’s Pits Top
This year’s winner makes you crazy—in a good way. Wes Wright and his meat-lovin’ team say the food they serve is “crazy good,” and you agree. Belmont Bar-B-Que wins again this year, for the third time since opening in 2008. An oldie but a goodie—even David Byrne got there with his band!—10-year-old Jinx’s holds steady in the runner-up spot. For more information on this winner, click here.

PIZZA
Christian’s Pizza
Runner-up: Mellow Mushroom

The Downtown pizza spot has dominated this category for eight years, despite tough contenders like runner-up Mellow Mushroom. Can they make it to a decade of consecutive wins? We doughn’t know! Stay tuned. For more information on this winner, click here.

LOCAL FOOD BLOGGER
edible cville
Runner-up: Mas to Millers

A self-described lover of cooking and eating (and writing about cooking and eating), Jenée Jordan Libby’s edible cville is your favorite place to dish on the local restaurant scene. Mas to Millers’ Jed Verity and Erin Malec deliver up-to-the-minute food news and reviews on their blog, this year’s runner-up.

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